Endothelin receptors as novel targets in tumor therapy

Anna Bagnato, Pier Giorgio Natali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The endotelin (ET) axis, that includes ET-1, ET-2, ET-3, and the ET receptors, ETA and ETB, plays an important physiological role, as modulator of vasomotor tone, tissue differentiation and development, cell proliferation, and hormone production. Recently, investigations into the role of the ET axis in mitogenesis, apoptosis inhibition, invasiveness, angiogenesis and bone remodeling have provided evidence of the importance of the ET-1 axis in cancer. Data suggest that ET-1 participates in the growth and progression of a variety of tumors such as prostatic, ovarian, renal, pulmonary, colorectal, cervical, breast carcinoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, brain tumors, melanoma, and bone metastases. ET-1 receptor antagonists beside providing ideal tools for dissecting the ET axis at molecular level have demonstrated their potential in developing novel therapeutic opportunity. The major relevance of ETA receptor in tumor development has led to an extensive search of highly selective antagonists. Atrasentan, one of such antagonists, is orally bioavailable, has suitable pharmacokinetic and toxicity profiles for clinical use. Preliminary data from clinical trials investigating atrasentan in patients with prostate cancer are encouraging. This large body of evidence demonstrates the antitumor activity of endothelin receptor antagonists and provides a rationale for the clinical evaluation of these molecules alone and in combination with cytotoxic drugs or molecular inhibitors leading to a new generation of anticancer therapies targeting endothelin receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Publication statusPublished - May 27 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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